What does the Surface Hub have to offer education?

Many of the schools within my region are currently in the process of replacing their ten year old SMART boards in the classroom with large flat screen televisions equipped with casting devices such as an Apple TV.

The cost of replacing projector bulbs, poor visibility, maintenance and single touch interface has meant that some schools are left with boards that they can literally not give away.

This week as part of Microsoft's Windows 10 preview event in Seattle we got to see the Surface Hub which is essentially made up of the following components.

  • A 55 or 84 inch 4K multi touch screen
  • A full functioning inbuilt Windows 10 PC
  • A HD Webcam and Microphone for conferencing and collaboration.

When you factor this in with the huge array of compatible established windows software already on the market such as one note, Office, Airserver ( Essentially acting as an Apple TV for mac and iOS compatibility.) Adobe Creative Suite, Skype, Chrome and Google Docs we are presented with a highly versatile classroom projection hub which has no 'all in one' competition.

It would appear that Microsoft seem to have deliberately avoided mentioning the word education  in any of their promotional content for this device which may suggest we will expect something soon targeted directly at the classroom.

From my perspective this would be the ultimate 'classroom screen' but we still have not details on the all important price.  

We are told from Microsoft this device will be available in late 2015 with more details coming soon.  In the meantime feel free to view the obligatory cheesy promo video, ponder the possibilities and voice your thoughts in the comment section below.

Over 450 Windows & Surface Apps for busy teachers


Over the last few years education has been crying out for alternatives to the traditional Windows PC environments that dominated education for the last three decades. 

I would be the first to admit it probably gets overlooked a little more than it should for a platform that still dominates market share of all computing devices.

Design Learn and Empower have not forgotten about Windows and have put together this great collection of Windows Apps by curriculum area.

It is very current, with the vast majority being available on Windows 8 and surface and there are some great ideas around implementation in the classroom.

I would strongly recommend taking a look at this if you want to get more out of your windows PC's and devices in schools. Access it here.

How to add clipart and images to Microsoft Office

This video shows how to add images to Microsoft Office and basically manipulate them.  You can view it below or download it here.

101 useful tips for Microsoft Office users

Whether you use Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher or any other application you will find a great collection of hints and tips for all office. apps  Every tutorial is short and sweet and has images to help you make sense of it.  This is a very simple and straightforward sight but highly effective. Check it outhere

Teach your students how not to kill their audience with bad PowerPoints

I have discussed this in the past in my article "Death by PowerPoint"as Microsoft's Presentation tool would have to be one of the most used and abused applications both in the classroom and the staff room for meetings and speaking and listening tasks.

I cant stand dodgy PowerPoints in which the presenter simply reads the same boring drivel that we can already see on the screen behind them.  So I jumped atthis lesson planoutlining how to get the most and avoid the worst from PowerPoint from theNew York Times Learning Network.

In this lesson,students examine perspectives on effective and ineffective uses of PowerPoint, then develop a set of rules for effective use of this tool for their class projects and presentations. They then create PowerPoint slides and a prose narrative on the same subject and compare the impact of each on the intended audience.

There is something here for both teachers and students and I would recommend this for year 5 students upwards through high school.  Check it outhere.

How to use Windows Live Movie Maker with your students

What is it?Windows Live Movie Maker is the next generation of Windows Movie Maker.  A basic video editing program that has shipped with Windows Since Windows XP.  Windows Live Movie Maker is a massive overhaul to it's predecessor and has the simplest and easiest to use interface of any video editing package I have ever used.  And I have used quite a few such as Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Sony Vegas and iMovie.  Users of these programs might be a little disappointed with the simplicity of limitations of Windows Live Movie Maker but this program is clearly aimed at mums and dads who want to put together a family holiday video in minutes with some music, photos, credits and titles and then maybe post it straight to Youtube I have to say that Windows Live Movie Maker is the easiest package available for this audience.  And of Course it is totally free.

How can I use it in my teaching and learning? Well Kids of nearly any age can use this Iand  have had Prep students use the older and more complicated version on the Smartboard. with success - So if you have a Flip camera or something similar it is not to much to ask your students to put together a visual text, after they have done some planning through a script, storyboard or created interview questions.  My school is beginning a TV station to share news around the school and a $200 camera and a free copy of this program can and will be a great help in making this accessible to all students and staff.

What level of expertise is required? Very little - Import, Drag and Drop your media onto a timeline throw in a few effects and publish your movie to Hard Drive, DVD or the Web.  Doesn't really get much easier than this.  If you are a bit more advanced at video editing and use either the Adobe, Sony or Mac offerings I would recommend sticking with what you know as this might be a little too basic for you.  For the Novice  looking to get into video editing this is simply the best starting point available.

Did I forget to mention that this program is totally free and available here.